What are the most popular types of 3D printers?

  • FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)
    • Extrudes thermoplastic filaments.
    • Most popular and cheap type.
  • SLA (Stereolithography)
    • Cures liquid resin into hardened plastic.
    • This is the type that dentists print protesis with.

What is the process from sketch to physical?

  • Modelling
    • Uses a CAD application to generate the design and export to an .STL file format.
    • Popular open source apps:
  • Slicing
    • Slices the model from the .STL file into horizontal layers with all moviments the printer has to perform and outputs a .GCODE file format.
    • Popular open source apps:
  • Printing
    • The 3D printer read the .GCODE file and simply follow the instructions without making much processing on it.
    • Popular open source firmware:

How to add the 3D printer to the network?

  • OctoPrint [Link]
    • This is an app very popular to be installed on a Raspberry Pi with a dedicated build called OctoPi.
    • It allows to command the printer remotely, create timelapse videos, allows for advanced features using plugins directly from an online repository.

What equipment and material should a be?

  • Definitely a FDM:
    • They start from 200 USD and the most popular is the Creality Ender 3.
    • Prefer a printer with PEI Plate or Glass.
    • A printer that offers auto bed leveling is extremely desirable.
    • A full metal extruder is not expensive and is much more durable.
    • Prefer an open source based printer. It will allow you to fully troubleshoot, repair, and mod without vendor restrictions.
  • Filaments:
    • PLA is the most simple of the types of plastic for printing.
    • The vendor might inform the range of recommended temperature but it is usually around 200 ºC.
    • It is fairly resistant but brittle at the same time.
    • Recommended 100% of fan speed for a quick cooling for better finishing.
  • A Raspberry Pi with OctoPrint:
    • Not needed but strongly recommended to connect the printer to the network and allow monitoring and advances features.


Filament materials parameters and proprieties comparison:

  • PLA
    • Printing Temperature: 180°C to 220°C (recommended 200°C).
    • Bed Temperature: 50°C to 60°C (recommended 50°C).
    • Cooling: 100%
    • Printing speed: 50 to 60 mm/s for optimum quality.
    • Material Characteristics: easy to print with, has minimal warping, emits less odour, and best suited for objects that won’t be exposed to sun light, high temperatures or mechanical stress.
  • ABS
    • Printing Temperature: 230°C to 260°C (recommended 240°C).
    • Bed Temperature: 90°C to 110°C (recommended 90°C).
    • Cooling: 0% to start (first few layers) and little on the rest (recommended to be disabled).
    • Printing speed: 40 to 50 mm/s for optimum quality.
    • Material Characteristics: durable, impact-resistant, withstands higher temperatures, and suitable for functional parts but it emits potentially harmful fumes during printing, so good ventilation is important.
    • Miscellaneous: suitable for parts to be used up to 100°C. It is soluble with acetone (excellent for improve the final finish), it is the material used to print LEGO bricks. Easier to sand for a mate finishing than PETG. Might need brim for better bed adhesion (recommended 5 mm) because it shrinks 4 times more than PLA when cooling so, an enclosure is mandatory.
  • PETG
    • Printing Temperature: 220°C to 250°C
    • Bed Temperature: 70°C to 80°C
    • Cooling: moderate
    • Printing speed: 40 to 60 mm/s for optimum quality.
    • Material Characteristics: combines some of the best properties of PLA and ABS. It is durable, has good layer adhesion, and is more flexible than PLA. It’s also less prone to warping than ABS. PETG is a good choice for functional parts that need some flexibility and durability.
    • Miscellaneous: suitable for parts to be used up to 80°C. Performance similar to ABS but with almost or no smell (fumes).


GCODE commands to the start:

; Automatic bed leveling

GCODE commands to the end:

; Beep for 500 milliseconds
M300 500

To integrate those AppImage files from Cura or Prusa Slicer to Ubuntu Desktop menu:

nano ~/.local/share/applications/Cura.desktop
#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
[Desktop Entry]
Exec="/home/userName/Downloads/UltiMaker-Cura-5.4.0-linux-modern.AppImage" %U

Note: remember to replace the userName, make the AppImage file executable, and use the full path.

The 128×128 icons can be found at:

wget -O ~/.local/cura.png "https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/18035735/48554277-46064580-e8de-11e8-8c4c-b682081a2219.png"
wget -O ~/.local/prusa.png "https://icon-icons.com/downloadimage.php?id=189809&root=3053/PNG/128/&file=prusa_slicer_macos_bigsur_icon_189809.png"


OctoPrint [Link]